Guilty plea | 

GAA coach who groped sleeping victim in taxi finally admits sex assault

Brendan Kerr slipped his hand inside her bra, telling his shocked victim she had “nice baps”

Paul HigginsSunday Life

This is the Co Antrim lorry driver and GAA coach whose “moment of madness” has led to a nine-month probation order.

Having previously contested but been convicted of a charge of sexual assault, Brendan Kerr was due to lodge an appeal at Antrim County Court on Wednesday, but the 39-year-old finally admitted his guilt.

Defence counsel Joel Lindsay confirmed Kerr, from Beechmount Park in Randalstown, was still appealing the three-month suspended jail sentence he had been given at the lower court.

A prosecuting lawyer outlined that on October 2, 2021, Kerr and his wife had been out socialising with another couple when the four decided to go back to Kerr’s house for more alcohol.

The victim had fallen asleep in the taxi and when both her partner and Kerr’s wife went into an off licence, he slipped his hand inside her bra and groped her right breast, telling his shocked victim she had “nice baps”.

“The injured party asked him to stop and when the others came out he took his hand away,” said the lawyer, adding that in “complete shock, no verbal complaint was made at that time (by the woman)”.

“Later that night matters hit home, she made a complaint to her partner, and the police were notified the following day,” she told the court.

Lodging his plea in mitigation, Mr Lindsay revealed the conviction had resulted in Kerr losing his job as well as being asked to leave a coaching role at his local GAA club, but he is due to begin a new job soon.

He submitted that even though Kerr had contested the case in the lower courts, “he is entitled to some credit” now that he has admitted his guilt.

Describing his actions as a “moment of madness”, Judge Desmond Marrinan agreed the confession had spared the victim from having to testify again, and also that Kerr’s own family had suffered. “That’s an unfortunate fallout, particularly with offending like this,” the judge told Kerr.

He concluded “I think, in the circumstances, justice should be tempered with mercy”, so he replaced the three-month suspended jail sentence with a nine-month probation order, which means he will no longer be on the police sex offenders register.

The judge also ordered Kerr to pay £750 compensation to his victim.

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